Last week when I wrote about what is arguably the crappiest sewing machine on earth, I offered to share some of the things I do around the house to “save” money. I use my savings to buy sewing stuff or things I can’t possibly construe as “for the house/family.” Like the Astoria shoes I want and don’t technically need.
Some people work and trade their time/skills for actual money- wage earners. Other people work very hard indeed without drawing a paycheck- home-makers. (And many people do a little of both.) Household tasks have tremendous value, even if it is in “savings” for the home and family rather than an actual wage.
Often, I give myself a little extra housework “in exchange” for guilt-free pocket money. In our house we live on a pretty tight budget and always have, so over time I developed a system of dozens of little odd jobs I assign myself in exchange for discretionary funds. I mean jobs that go above and beyond regular housework, and that I can quantify.
One of these regular jobs is making laundry soap. When Miss Smith at Home posted about this over a year ago, I was skeptical. It didn’t seem right to me- what, make my own laundry soap for a dollar or two? Is that a thing, do people do that? Will it work? Is it gross?
A year later, I can say it does work quite well, it’s not gross and it’s cheap. Following Miss Smith’s example, I figured out my costs:
1 bar sunlight soap- $ 0.52
250g washing soda- $0.90
7L of detergent / 1/2c per load= ~56 loads = $1.42 or $0.03/load
Before I started making my own, I used a front-loading liquid detergent:
$0.36 x 56(loads) = $ 20.16 for the same number of washes I get from my home-made soap.
$20.16-$1.42= $18.74 savings
Of course, prices are astronomical in Australia, and I choose liquid as it seems to be gentler on my clothes. It’s usually more expensive than powdered. Your own price spread will vary. It takes me half an hour to make a batch that will last for 6 or so weeks. We’re a small family, I imagine the savings would be greater for larger families.
1 Bar plain soap (I use sunlight or whatever I have to hand)
1 c Washing Soda/ sodium carbonate (laundry isle or in the pool supply section)
1c Baking soda (sometimes, add it with the washing soda)
Dissolve the soap flakes in 2L of boiling water (a kettle full) in a bucket. Stir it around for a while.
I leave a little “headroom” to shake it before use; sometimes the soap sets firmly. I use about 1/2c at a time, though that may be more than strictly necessary.
That’s it! $18.74 isn’t a huge deal but it’s not bad for half an hours’ of work. It comes out to around $162.41 over the course of a year- not an astronomical sum, but a useful bit of pocket money. (Maybe if I made a year’s worth of laundry soap all at one time, I could justify the Astorias…)
Besides, I’m sure making my own laundry soap is somehow vaguely “green,” which is always a plus.
Do you quantify the work you do around the home? How? Do you ever trade a little extra effort for a bit of pocket money?
This might be an odd question but I’m curious- do you use paper towels / kitchen paper in your home? How many rolls per week?
Tomorrow: Skirt re-fashion! Or bag stencils! Something awesome, anyway!